Even when we try to observe, read, watch, listen clearly and without bias, we inevitably see what we want to see to some extent.
On the issues of Israel and Palestine, its especially difficult.
The terror/war/conflict/invasion/massacre in Gaza in 2008, is an especially loaded question. Anyone that tells you “the fact is” …., rather than “from what I understand, I conclude …..”, is lying.
Maybe not intentionally deceiving, but certainly exagerating the status of observation to the status of authoritative truth.
EVERY evidence is potentially deceiving, as to its political and moral significance, EVERY, from every perspective.
For example, the read that I and most in the west conclude from watching television or reading prominent American press, is that Hamas unilaterally began shelling and firing rockets at Israeli civilians after a six-month cease-fire that was quiet for most of that time. It is true that Hamas shelled Israeli civilian towns in mid-late December.
But, every word of that true statement contains qualification (not lies perse).”Hamas shelled”. Actually Hamas was not the first Palestinian faction to fire rockets after the cease-fire ended. Other factions fired first, but Hamas did state that their request to honor the cease-fire had ended, that in their opinion it was no longer a Palestinian national interest to restrain from firing.
“Unilaterally”. Actually, in early November, there was an incident in which Israel claimed that a suspected tunnel (stated as similar to the one by which Shalit was abducted) was observed under construction in Gaza, and Israel launched a raid to destroy it and attacked the individuals suspected. (It was never clarified if there was in fact a tunnel, or what precipitated the decision to cross the border, in direct contradiction of the cease-fire terms – negotiated verbally through a mediator. Nothing was signed or clarified by any party.) After that incident in which six Hamas members were killed, factions retaliated against Israel both on the ground and in firing rockets at civilian centers. The skirmishes lasted through November. In early December, the skirmishes reduced, near to the status of during the cease-fire, and to the point that both Hamas and Israel could accurately speak of the conditions and prospects of “continuing” the cease-fire.
“Six month cease-fire”. Hamas honored the terms of the cease-fire very closely and enforced those terms of cease-fire on other factions, for four months with a high degree of discipline. They claim that they were promised that the cease-fire agreement was an agreement of cease-fire for in exchange for opened borders between Israel and Gaza and Egypt and Gaza, and not just a unilateral voluntary stopping of rocket-fire from Gaza.
The pro-solidarity movement claims that after the November incident above, the cease-fire was off, that there was no cease-fire in effect at that point. And, that the shelling after December 18, 2008 was not of a different status than previously, and therefore should not have stimulated any need or attempt to engage in any military action.
They claim that ANY military action was therefore a violation of international law, even though it was civilians in Israel that were the random targets of mortars and rockets, and that the shelling and rocket fire had escalated to cities further from the Gaza/Israel border incrementally, before any distinct military action by Israel ensued.
To Israel, the choice to undertake a large scale military action was necessary, as Hamas and other factions had announced that they were in possession of many more rockets than was apparent, had more and more sophisticated anti-tank and other ground weapons, and the intention to wash the streets of Gaza with Israeli soldiers’ blood if they invaded on the ground. Immediately prior to the ground invasion, Hamas officials were reported in Haaretz as declaring that they DESIRED that Israel undertake a ground assault.
So, in exagerated response to those threats, the IDF conducted a large scale military operation along fairly textbook lines of aerial assault on communication, road and electrical infrastructure, and clearing logistical lines of transport broadly.
Lots of self-referencing “truths”, all incomplete, and all collectively incompetent. (It looked to me more like a conspiracy by militant Zionists and militant Palestinians to initiate a violent war they both would seek propaganda points from, civilians be damned.)
So, to my mind, those that quote the propaganda points, express a saddening gullibility.
Both the pro-Palestinian militant movement, and the pro-Zionist militants regard those that see through and publicly disclose that we see through the misrepresentations of each of the narratives, as complicit in their enemies efforts, disloyal or racist.
The ONLY anti-war approach, is the one of negotiation and of mutual humanization. ANY escalatory actions (words as well as deeds) is heat in a pressure cooker.